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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

If Lancelot and Guinevere were enlightened thinkers sneaking around behind a kooky King Arthur’s back, then “A Royal Affair” would be a visual storybook of their dangerous affair.

Starring Mads Mikkelsen as innovative German doctor Johann Struensee, the affair itself doesn’t see screen time until halfway through the film. However, the beautiful Danish scenery and architecture make for a nice view while the audience waits.

Alicia Vikander co-stars as Queen Caroline Mathilde, the quietly suffering bride of “disturbed” King Christian VII of Denmark, played by Mikkel Boe Folsgaard.

King Christian, a rambunctious soul who is often in the company of women, was no more in charge than his canine companion in a country ruled by divine right.

Fearing his misbehavior, the court calls for a personal physician (Mikkelsen), who quickly wins over the king with a spirited Shakespeare-quoting contest.

But — as all royal scandals go — the queen and the doctor combine their enlightened thoughts and use Stuensee’s influence on Christian. Their dangerous commitment — and secret love child — ultimately make the teetering regime fall further into darkness.

Mikkelsen’s sturdy expressions mixed with Vikander’s soft, questioning gazes make for a believably steamy tryst, and Folsgaard’s cackling, moody Christian is perfectly clueless to it all.

Together, the trio complement each other subtly and effectively.

The film, which won Best Actor for Folsgaard and Best Screenplay at the Berlin National Film Festival, is similar to other royal representations like “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “Marie Antoinette” in regards to its lavish sets. But the focus on character sets it apart from its other, more decorative predecessors.

“A Royal Affair” is screening at the Hippodrome starting Friday. For more information and showtimes, visit www.thehipp.org.

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